TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS    
TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS  
TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS      
TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS TROJAN PRESS | NOVELS, MEMOIRS & LIBRETTOS | FREE BOOK DOWNLOADS

ABOUT TROJAN PRESS

I began using this name in 1984 for The Garden Gate, the first of my books which did not enter the world via the conventional route of a commercial publisher. I offered the book to a number of publishers but none wanted to take the risk of putting out something so expensive to set up, and unlikely to sell, so I decided to be my own publisher. This was not as easy as it sounds today. Like most writers, I had the term ‘vanity publishing’ lurking in my mind, implying a refusal to accept any sensible appraisal of a book’s worth. (If it couldn’t be sold it couldn’t be any good.) However, I felt fortified by my awareness of the travails of my beloved Hector Berlioz, French composer 1803 – 1869, who wrote his masterpiece, Les Troyens (The Trojans), in the face of his awareness that he was unlikely to get the thing staged at the Paris Opera. (He didn’t.) Letters he wrote to the Princesse Sayn-Wittgenstein show what heights he lived on in the period of the opera’s composition; it might be said that his life reached a peak in those years that it would never reach again. Here is what he wrote to her on the 30th of November, 1857:

I go at my work with a concentrated passion which seems to grow as it satisfies itself. And the result: what will be its value? God knows. In any case, I feel a true happiness in hollowing, fitting out, and rigging a mast on this great Robinson Crusoe’s canoe which I will not be able to launch unless the sea itself comes to take it away; and I will never forget, Princess, that I owe to you, and you alone, the luxury of being given over to this composition.’

I gave my self-publishing activities the imprint Trojan Press, by way of acknowledging what I owed to the Frenchman who had lived by his own version of the famously French quality of ‘logic’: if your thinking convinces you that a certain thing must be done, then you must obey your logic, and do it. I was strongly supported by the person I loved at that time, and by the Frenchman too. In 1984 there were three performances in Melbourne, my home city, of The Trojans, conducted by Richard Divall; I went to two of them, and it was as if I had admitted a mighty wind into my life, pushing me forward. The Garden Gate was published. In commercial terms, it was foolishness, but those who live for art have to accept that they will sometimes look silly to those who don’t live in the same way.

I published another four books with commercial publishers but in doing The Garden Gate privately I was accepting the way I might have to go. The turning point came when I completed my most important work, Wainwrights’ Mountain, and felt shabbily treated by a couple of publishers. I was furious, and decided that I would publish it, and everything I wrote thereafter, myself.

The novel meant so much to me that I put it aside until I had another book (House of music) ready for publication. I got a thousand copies of House of music printed and by much telephoning managed to push six or seven hundred into shops. This pleased me until I realised that they weren’t selling. People coming into the shops hadn’t heard of the book, so it didn’t mean anything to them, and, I must admit, my own attitudes didn’t help. I’m something of a purist about books and simply don’t like the way in which some writers cultivate their public personalities in order to stir up media interest in their books. They use personality to turn the book into a saleable object. Some people are good at this, but it wasn’t for me. I left the unsold books where they were and if some readers got a bargain, good luck to them. I reduced my print runs to 200 copies and gave them to my friends or anyone else who showed interest. I felt a little uneasy about this at first, as if I was doing something that wasn’t quite right. This feeling disappeared rapidly and I am now very happy with the path I took.

The next step came when I became aware that Avant Card, a Sydney company operating in most of the major centres of the country, had taken their free postcard network a stage further, and were printing and distributing ‘mini-mags’, small booklets of one sort or another. It was exactly what I needed. I pulled out the story Escape (available via this website), made a mini-mag of it, and had ten thousand copies distributed. They were gone in a few weeks. I got a few nice phone calls and emails from strangers and felt I’d found, or almost found, my way forward. There was one more step to take. I’d create a website, make my work available there, and let the public know about it via some more Avant Card mini-mags. That’s what I’m doing and that, dear reader, is the story so far. (3 February 2006)


ABOUT CHESTER EAGLE

The Eagle family reached Australia in 1833, and by the time Chester was born most of the Eagles had land along the Murray River and its tributaries and and branches at Barham, in south-western New South Wales. Chester’s parents, Norman and Alice Eagle (Duncan) had moved, however, to run, first, a general store at Finley, ninety miles to the east, and then a farm not far from Finley. It was the time of the great depression and Chester’s parents, like most farmers, were ‘scratching’ as the saying had it, but despite the economic reality the security of the farm (Father) and household (Mother) meant that for the child the main feeling was one of security and dignity rather than of poverty. The Eagles took pride in themselves because they felt they could cope with almost anything, and the Duncans set themselves high personal standards and drew pride in living up to them. To this day I am not aware of any black sheep in either family, although I suppose that if one searched far enough …

Chester attended Finley State School for six years, then had another six in Melbourne. He had four years at Melbourne University, then took up a teaching appointment in Bairnsdale, in eastern Victoria. It was there that he came into contact with the writer-extraordinaire Hal Porter, and decided that writing was to be the centre of his life. He married Mary Hutchings, and moved to Melbourne. He continued teaching (Preston Technical School, later Preston TAFE College), but managed to write as well as work, be a parent, and everything else. He took the state-given opportunity to retire at age 55 and was able at last to devote himself to writing full-time. This term is misleading, perhaps, because his habits, well set by now, involve writing after breakfast until mid-morning, by which time the day’s work is done. The rest of the day is given over to looking at the world around him, brooding, a little re-reading, correction and revising, and to music. Throw in the garden, some travel, persistent reading of anything recommended by friends, a little wining and dining, and you have a life of almost uninterrupted regularity and concentration, which happens to suit his temperament. Anything else which needs to be said will emerge from the notes under the heading ‘The writing of this book’ at the end of each of the entries that follow. Chester.Eagle@TrojanPress.com.au


HIS BOOKS

Hail and Farewell! An evocation of Gippsland  non-fiction, 1971
Who could love the nightingale?  novel, 1973
Four faces, wobbly mirror  novel, 1976
At the window  novella, 1984
The garden gate  novel, 1984
Mapping the paddocks  non-fiction, 1985
Play together, dark blue twenty  non-fiction, 1986
House of trees  reissue of Hail and Farewell! 1987
Victoria Challis  novel, 1991
House of music  stories, 1996
Wainwrights’ mountain  novel, 1997
Waking into dream  novel, 1998
didgeridoo  stories, 1999
Janus  travel pieces, 2001
The Centre and other essays  essays, 2002
Love in the Age of Wings and other operas  librettos, 2003
Melba: an Australian city  essays, 2004
The Wainwright Operas  librettos, 2005
Oztralia  essays, 2005
Cloud of knowing  novel, 2006
Benedictus  essays, 2006
Central Station Sydney  librettos, 2006
O Vos Omnes  libretto, 2007
The Sun King & other operas  librettos, 2007
The Well in the Shadow  literary essays, 2008 (see also Translations)
All the Way to Z  essay/memoir, 2009
This Enchanted World and other operas  librettos, 2009
Running The Race  novel, 2010
A Mob Of Galahs and other operas librettos (2011)
The Pilgrims  novel, 2012
Swinging Doors  novel, 2013
the roar of existence  novel, 2015


HIS MINI–MAGS

Escape  story, 2004 (see also Translations)
Hallucination before departure  memoir, 2006
Mozart  memoir, 2007
Travers  memoir, 2007
So bitter was my heart  memoir, 2008
Keep going!  memoir, 2008
Who?  memoir, 2008
At Baldy’s feet  memoir, 2008
The Saints in Glory  memoir, 2010
Othello's Rage  memoir, 2010
One Small Step  memoir, 2011
Castle Hill  memoir, 2011
Chartres  memoir, 2011
The Plains  memoir, 2011
Four Last Songs  memoir, 2011
The Camera Sees ...  reflection, 2011
Freedom  reflection, 2012
Men In White  reflection, 2012
An Airline Suite  story, 1989/2013 (see also Translations)
An Opera Suite 
story, 1990/2013 (see also Translations)
Cooper’s Creek 
reflection, 2013
A Short History Of Australia  story, 2014
Gippsland's first great book  essay, 2011
Emily at Preston  memoir, 2009/2015
These Fields Are Mine!  reflection, 2015
Mother’s question memoir, 2016
An answer memoir, 2016
Of his Place and Time memoir, 2016


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